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Abstract

What is a traditional family farm? Is it a family of four living on a farm and supplying all of the labor, capital and management or is it a family corporation with four families supplying all of the capital and management? These types of questions continue to arise in policy debates, as they have for many years. While subject to heated debate and the core of many people’s positions on farm programs the answer is more sociological as it is becoming less and less economically relevant. Whether these types of farms or any other farm sizes should survive is not a question that can be answered by a policy analyst. The job of an analyst is to determine if and under what conditions family farms can survive. To this end, this paper reviews the various definitions of family farms and draws inferences as to the economic and financial survival of these different size farms using the results generated from simulating representative farms.

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